September 2, 2010

swimming in doubts

"He was not a practical joker nor was he a fool but he was determinedly original and had a vague and modest idea of himself as a legendary figure."
--"The Swimmer," John Cheever
This story provided me with just cause to suspect that Kazuo Ishiguro was influenced by Cheever's work. Both writers can conjure up convincing, unreliable protagonists who go to great lengths to delude themselves and deny the existence of what causes them pain. So-called unreliable narrators indulge, instead, in a charmingly fantastical existence, taking the reader along for the ride...one that inevitably comes to a crashing halt, of course.

What would it be like to realize that for some time already, you had unwittingly led a false narrative of a life, and everyone could see through it but you? Oh wait, I know. It would be awful. And yet I like these types of stories quite a bit.

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